Pentagon denies report that China setting up spy station in Cuba
Pentagon officials on Thursday shot down news reports that China is preparing to build a spy station in Cuba, even as the claims gained traction on Capitol Hill and sparked an angry reaction from lawmakers of both parties.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters the media accounts of a Chinese eavesdropping facility just 100 miles from the Florida coast are “not accurate,” though he stressed that the U.S. is closely monitoring the China-Cuba relationship.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the alleged Chinese spy station, citing U.S. officials familiar with highly classified intelligence.
“I’ve seen that reporting. I can tell you based on the information we have that that is not accurate,” Gen. Ryder said. “We are not aware of China and Cuba developing any type of spy station. Separately, I would say that [the] relationship that those two countries share is something we continuously monitor.”
“China’s activities, both in our hemisphere and around the world — any concerning activities — are something that we will continue to watch closely,” he said. “But in terms of that particular report, no, it’s not accurate.”
The report in question maintained that a facility in Cuba would allow China to electronically eavesdrop on U.S. communications in the southeastern part of the United States, which is home to many key American military facilities.
Key lawmakers, who seized on the Wall Street Journal report and others that followed it Thursday, urged the Biden administration to take action to stop such a listening post in Cuba.
“We are deeply disturbed by reports that Havana and Beijing are working together to target the United States and our people,” said Sens. Mark Warner and Marco Rubio, chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“The United States must respond to China’s ongoing and brazen attacks on our nation’s security,” Mr. Warner, Virginia Democrat, and Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican, said in a joint statement. “We must be clear that it would be unacceptable for China to establish an intelligence facility within 100 miles of Florida and the United States, in an area also populated with key military installations and extensive maritime traffic. We urge the Biden administration to take steps to prevent this serious threat to our national security and sovereignty.”